Just got my tin of this a few days ago. It reminds me of the last Holiday blend, but possibly with more ceylon in it – as it’s less bold. Not my favorite from A&S, but still a good cup.
411 Tasting Notes
When I was growing up, my father loved cheesecake-flavored ice cream. Specifically blueberry cheesecake ice cream. So this aroma makes me nostalgic. And drool. Because oh my goodness! This tea smells amazing! Creamy, cheesy, and fruity. I almost want to nibble on the tea leaves it smells so amazing. And there are GIANT blueberries included in the leaf. It’s beautiful!
Brewing it, it turns into a very light yellow brew, with a light, beautiful aroma. It’s the same blueberry-cheesecake-y goodness as the leaf, albeit a lot more delicate and light. Unsweetened, I got a lot of the bright, berry flavor. Sweetened, it was lovely. To me, the green tea flavor is, not particular strong or stand-out, but the blueberry, and a cakey/cheesy flavor are there, and they’re lovely. It was a lot lighter and more delicate taste than one might anticipate from the aroma of the leaf. But it’s very very yummy. And I got a second brew out of it, which is surprising for a flavored tea.
Lovely tea. I think I’ll be seeking this out again.
One of the things I’ve been noticing over the years, as I’ve ordered tea from various merchants, is that common parameters aren’t always common.
Almost every tea will have directions on the back of the packet, telling you how to brew a cup of tea. Too bad they can’t agree on the definition of the word ‘cup’. A standard English definition of the word cup could lead you to believe that it would be a measurement somewhere around 8 oz. But apparently this doesn’t count in the tea world. The general rule of thumb is 2-3 grams of tea per cup. But if you don’t have the same definition of cup, that could result in some very strange brewing parameters.
Lupicia has one of the smallest definitions of a cup I’ve ever seen. They define a cup as 5 oz., and still call for 3 grams of tea per these 5 oz. I’d be afraid of oversteeping with something like this but this cup? This was an amazing cup of tea.
The product description says “Sweet nostalgic aroma of caramel and almonds. Delicious straight or with milk.” This tea leaf smells sweet. And brewed up, it’s a beautiful medium brown and smells lovely, although much less sweet. Drinking the tea straight up, it has hints of caramel and almond flavors; a nice light cup. However, I like to add splenda or honey to my black teas. And if you sweeten this? Wow, it’s amazing. Mellow, smooth caramel flavors. Rich, creamy, and sweet with an almond finish. I also tried this tea with milk, and while nice, I didn’t find that it added as much as the sweetener did.
I strongly recommend that those who like a little sweetness with their tea give this a try. It’s a lovely yummy cup of goodness.
The way I’ve learned to make chai is a stove top method. Rather than just simply brewing like tea, you do the following:
For each 2 cups of chai tea:
Take 1 cup water, bring to a boil on the stove in a small saucepan. Once the water comes to a boil, add 1 tbsp. chai tea, and 1 tbsp. sugar. Return to a boil, and let boil for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, and add one cup milk (the more milk-fat, the more flavorful). Let rest on the stove for at least 10 minutes, and then strain, and drink.
This method of preparation takes most chai mixes and makes them amazingly flavorful. I know it’s sacrilege to boil tea, but the spices in chai cover any over-steeped flavor, and it ensures you get the most out of the spices.
So, wanting to get the most out of this chocolate chai (because really, what could be better? Chocolate and chai spice? YUM), I prepared it in the stovetop method. It surprised me. It was a very mellow cup. Like a mildly spiced chocolate milk. The chocolate flavor is at the forefront, and there’s a taste of generic spices as an aftertaste. None of the particular spices stand out, but there’s the sensation of clove, and a tiny burn from possibly a little pepper.
So, it’s very yummy, but a little less spicy than I was hoping. If it wasn’t caffeinated, I could see drinking this at night as a soother.
I wanted to make sure it wasn’t the stovetop method somehow skewing the flavor of this tea. So I brewed it like a regular cup of tea as well. And no, it does MUCH better brewed stove top method.
Prepare for something lovely. It’s a great cuppa. Just don’t expect a lot of spice, and revel in the chocolate.
I think that one of the best things that ever happened to Earl Grey tea was meeting the vanilla bean. It must have been movie magic. I can see it now…
INT: A Parisian Salon.
Various teas and flavorings lounge about, chatting, discussing worldly matters and current gossip. VANILLA sits in the corner, alone, draped across a chaise longue. She is long, lean and highly sweetly scented.
The camera pans to the door where EARL GREY, a dark, swarthy yet citrus scented tea enters. He scans the room until his eyes fall on VANILLA. He beelines to her, drops to one knee, grabs her hand, and looks deeply into her eyes while kissing her hand.
EARL GREY (huskily): ‘Allo. I find myself inexplicibly drawn to you. I feel we could make amazing brews together.
….and scene. Only problem is that just like movie magic, there are frequent copycats that just don’t have the verve and je ne sais qua of the original. I’ve had varied luck with the different Earl Grey de la Cremes out there on the market.
Luckily, Distinctly Tea has got a pretty good version of this classic couple. The black tea base of ceylon and assam is sturdy and the flavoring agents blend beautifuly. The vanilla is creamy, and the bergamot avoids the trap of tasting like perfume. Highly scented, highly flavorful. Lovely tea. I reccomend it.
I was hoping for more with this tea. It smelled promising, but it didn’t stand out for me.
I got this tea for my husband, and we both LOVE it. It’s perfectly chocolately and the hint of mint is amazing. It’s almost like a cocktail more than a cup of tea.
Oh so lovely, oh so chocolate. It’s the perfect afternoon tea, especially for chocolate lovers.
Good, but it doesn’t live up to the scent of the dry leaf.
I love Celestial Seasoning’s Candy Cane Lane. And, as this is just that tea, repackaged, I love it too.
Really good for a bagged tea.
Had a big cup of this on my way out the door this morning with some sweetner and real cream. Oh! Bliss! It’s so good. I love this tea so much…
(And I keep stalking the A&D store hoping there’s another damn fine tea to buy… sigh)
It’s been a crappy day after a crappy week (surgery on my left hand last week). I needed some liquid comfort. This makes things a little better…
I love this tea. So much like red hot candies, but no calories and just made of yum.
I may have mentioned this before, but one of my ever increasing number of hobbies* is researching and recreating Medieval cooking. Much like today, medieval people were very into conspicious consumption. They liked using expensive pricy ingredients to show off to their guests – “See! Look how much money I can spend – just on dinner!” Spices were always one of the most popular ways to show off wealth. They were very expensive and very highly valued, and saffron was one of the more popular spices.
In the cooking I do saffron is mostly a coloring agent, as it turns the food a lovely golden color, and not used for flavor. I find the flavor very light and subtle. So I was very curious about what affect it would have on the tea.
The teabag smelled like generic tea. Pouring water over the bag, it did turn bright yellow for a moment – then turned into a normal tea color. The brewed aroma again smelled like a normal tea. In drinking, I’m getting a bitter high note – like I over-brewed the tea, but it didn’t have the tannic drying effect that normally goes along with the bitterness. I prefer my tea sweetened, so after a few sips of the tea unsweetened, I added my favorite sweetening agent. It toned down the bitterness, and turned it into a very bright flavor.
Either way, I don’t think I like the addition of the saffron. The tea behind the saffron tastes quite nice, and would have likely been a very nice cuppa on it’s own. But as it is, it’s not really for me.
*My craft room is crying from from too much stuff and too many projects. You can almost hear it crying from the street, “no more stuff, take the yarn away! I don’t need any more embroidery floss!”
This is a solid white tea. Just a nice solid white tea. The leaf smells lovely and fruity. Once brewed, the aroma of this tea is sweet and slightly grassy, It brews up to a golden liquor; a really pretty cup. The flavor is pleasantly hay-like, and very mellow, but the aromas don’t arrive on the tongue. There are no outstanding high notes, but nothing distracting either. It does have a base-line sweetness to it, and overall, it’s just really pleasant. I don’t know how typical or representative of a White Peony this tea is, but it’s good and would compliment a number of sweet treats or an afternoon sitting and reading.
This tea is a dream. But I don’t mean that in the standard “yay – happy – life is great” meaning of dream. I mean the actually discordant random chaining of events your brain comes up with late at night, possibly after eating too much late-night pizza. Let me explain.
The packaging on this is beautiful. They send their tea in an amazing brown and pink high-end gift box complete with big satin pink bow. I should be at a spa for packaging like this. In the dream, there would be cherubs and happy music. Until you untied the bow and opened the box. Then the lighting would change, and possibly add a whole bunch of discordant notes to the score. My first though: it looks like chamomile and pot. Lots of small little bits of green with twiggy parts, and flower heads. And now I’m lost for words. Really. Wow….
Now, as I’m at my work in this dream, I’ll risk running afoul of my HR department and brew this up. (Think they’d believe me if I claimed “No, no! Really! It’s just tea!” I know we’re a drug-free workplace!” ??) Opening the plastic, the aroma is quite strong. The main scent is chamomile with an underlying hint of something green and something sweet, but undefined. Time to add the water. In the dream, the scene would shift quickly to a Japanese tea shop because – WOW – it looks almost like matcha. It’s very thick, opaque, and GREEN. As it brews, it’s turning more brown. It’s reminding me of murky swamp water. Um.. I don’t like where this dream is going.
After about 3 minutes, I strain the tea, and try it. And now we’re in a nightmare. Very chamomile but with a cloying natural floral sweetness I can’t place, and an almost chemical aftertaste. I cannot finish this cup. It’s like drinking a hippie’s herbal perfume experiments gone wrong. I try cooling it down, and watering it down, but no luck.
If you think that chamomile is the best thing in the world, you may like this tea. But I’m sorry – this tea scares me. I can’t drink any more of this. I don’t even think I’ll pawn this off on someone.
But I will keep the box.
This is such a light, refreshing tea. Very mild, very light – the brewed color is a light pale wheat color. The brew has a light hint of a tang or tart to it as well. Lovely.
I once read a Japanese food related comic, that mentioned drinking hot tea on a hot day. I alway thought that was absolutely insane. However, this tea makes me understand this. I could drink this tea on a hot day and be refreshed and happy.
For an everyday drinking tea however, I’d like something with a little more oomph.
These teabags are adorable; little bendy strings with the leaf, the pyramid shape leaving room for the leaves to dance, the packaging. They’re highly engineered and very cute.
However, it’s what’s inside that counts, and as a chai, it didn’t really stand out. Chai should be bold and brave and spicy. This is a delicate chai. A demure chai. Not quite a wall-flower chai, but definitely not the belle of the ball. Nice to drink, but not something I’d actively seek out.
What I found that I really liked using this tea for was making cocktails with it. I originally got this idea from a class I took at a local tea shop. They had gotten the Tea Forte tea cocktails set in, and this is a modification of one of those recipes. This is a LOVELY decadent drink, to replace dessert when you feel like laying about and being pampered.
1 Bombay Chai Tea Pyramid
Double shot of Whipped Cream flavored vodka (can be done with regular vodka, but this adds an extra dimension of yum)
whole milk (or half and half if you feel REALLY decadent)
Take the bombay chai tea pyramid and put in a small cup. Pour the vodka in, let sit approx. 5-8 minutes. Remove tea pyramid. Take a large juice or highball glass, fill with ice. Pour in steeped vodka. Then add at least 2 tbsp of simple syrup, more if you like things sweet (you can adjust after finishing the drink). Fill the glass with milk. Taste, adjust the sweetness with more simple syrup as needed. Then enjoy.
The tea pyramid can be resteeped two to three times for more drinks. (For you, or your friends – if you want to share.) It’s amazingly yummy. Completely decadent. Lovely.
I made two pitchers of this, iced, last weekend. You know, back when it was hot? Now, I’m finishing off the last one, shivering in the 50 degree weather (10 C).
It’s lovely warm, and lovely iced. Fruity with a hint of that cranberry sour.
I just wish I had the warm type today!
I can’t beleive I didn’t rate this before. Made myself a nice pot of this over the weekend since I had some extra cream to go with it. Lovely cup. Nice, fruit and just overall yummy.
So, as I child, I used to eat grass. Not a lot, and not actual grazing, but every so often when outside, I’d pick a blade and nibble. Thank goodness my parently didn’t use chemical fertilizer, and that we didn’t have any dogs! I favored wild grass, because you can get the milder white hearts of grass from the inner stem in larger portions than from regular lawn grass.
That is what this tea reminds me of – those mild grass hearts. It’s a lovely mellow, smooth and grassy tea. And grass really is a motif throughout the tea. The dry leaf looks like dried grass slippings, while having cocoa and nutty aroma notes. The brewed leaf looks even more like grass clippings and smells like a typical green tea.
But the brew – oh! the brew. It’s lovely. Others have called it sweet. I don’t get sweet. I get grassy, lightly nutty, and very mellow. Mild. Very lightly colored. This is a tea I could sip all day. Lovely, lovely tea.
Picked this up the other day, but for whatever reason haven’t starting drinking it yet. Yum. It’s lovely stuff. Nice, mellow, yummy green tea.
Sorry I’m not more descriptive or pithy – I’ve got a cold coming on.
From http://www.itsallabouttheleaf.com/2378/tea-review-celestial-seasonings-sleepytime-vanilla-3/ – It’s all About the Leaf – go read more reviews!
I have a confession. I consider myself an herbal tea fan. Yet, I hate chamomile.
And a lot of teas, especially ones designed to soothe and relax, like to focus on chamomile. So I used to convince myself (on those nights where I’ve had a horrible long day and want a nice, mellow cup of tea to help me relax) that maybe the chamomile won’t be so bad this time. So I brew, and I relax, and I sip. And then I go and calmly dump the cup out and wonder why it’s still on my shelf of tea. Blech.
This cycle continued until I found Sleepytime Vanilla. This is an herbal tea, designed to relax you. And it has chamomile in it. And I actually like it. The blend of mint and vanilla with the chamomile mellows the flavor, and enhances the brew. As you sip, you’re first hit by the mint and chamomile, pleasantly combined, then the vanilla shows up with a creamy aftertaste. The flavors play off each other, and remove whatever it is that consistently makes me go BLEA.
These days, when I’ve had a horrible long day and want to relax, this tea is the one that finds its way into my cup. I sip contentedly, and actually gain that relaxation I am so craving.
From http://www.itsallabouttheleaf.com/2383/tea-review-golden-moon-tea-white-licorice/ – It’s all About the Leaf
There are over 5 million ways to divide the world into two groups. Licorice is definitely one of them. People either adore black licorice or hate it. I personally fall into the “love it” camp – unless it’s salt licorice. Because it’s just.. odd. Blea.
There are a few ways to get licorice-like flavors. There is the traditional licorice root, but anise, star anise, and fennel all contain similar flavoring agents. All these plants contain the chemical compound anethole which provides that signature flavor. And while all are similar, there are subtle differences. Licorice root is sweeter, anise is more aromatic, fennel is milder, and star anise has a bit of a bite.
This tea uses star anise to get it’s licorice flavor. On first sniff, the leaf smells very much like standard licorice. But once it started to brew, the notes of star anise come out much more strongly. It develops into a very light yellow brew – likely due to the white tea. On first sip, the licorice is very mellow, soft. Almost more plant-y than standard licorice. The hay-like features of the white tea blend well with the plant-y features of the star anise to merge together into a nice mellow cup.
Of all the various plant anethole-delivery systems, star anise is my least favorite. I don’t like the small, strange bite it delivers. I like all the others (I even have this amazing bread dip recipe that uses fennel*) much more, but even with this mark against it, this tea does not disappoint. It’s mellow, smooth, and yummy. Because it’s not so strongly licorice-y, even those who fall into the camp of licorice hater may like this tea. Good blend.
special bonus recipe!
*G’s amazing bread dip
1 tsp fennel seed
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp salt
4-5 turns of fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp chopped garlic
Take the first four ingredients, grind in a spice grinder until they’re a fine powder. Blend with the chopped garlic in a mortar and pestle until you get a nice paste. Blop the paste into the center of a shallow bowl or deep plate. Pour olive oil over the paste, stir slightly. Serve with fresh bread. And drink with strong tea – because any other type will be overpowered by the dip.